Late last week a bipartisan group announced it will begin collecting signatures to get a key LGBT question on the ballot in 2016. The Fair Michigan committee wants to see equal protection under the law for all gay and transgender people. That means the same civil rights protections other minority groups are afforded would be given to the LGBT community as well, protecting them in business, work, medical treatment, and housing. The Fair Michigan group includes Democratic Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy and Republican Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson. The group is led by Dana Nessel, who also represented the same-sex couple from Michigan who took their case for marriage to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Support: Nessel says that even if people disagree with gay marriage it doesn’t mean they want LGBT people to be denied basic services or not treated as equal. The Fair Michigan group includes both Democratic and Republican members and expects to gain votes from both parties. Henderson comments, “Legislature is out of step with public opinion on this” and Nessel agrees. “We absolutely believe that to be true,” she says. ”We think the average voter in Michigan would like to see this passed.”
Legislature: MPRN Capitol Bureau Chief Rick Pluta says some LGBT activists aren’t on board with the ballot drive, and would rather see the civil rights issue go before the Legislature. The fear, says Pluta, is if the question goes before voters and fails it will set the movement back for years to come. Nessel says the Legislature isn’t moving fast enough as it is: “Almost no action,” she says of the measure in the state House and Senate. “I think in 12 years we’ve had one hearing in one chamber.”